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Inline measurement of container properties using Raman Spectroscopy


PhD project title

Inline measurement of container properties using Raman Spectroscopy

Outline description, including interdisciplinary, intersectoral and international dimensions 

This project will develop ground breaking hardware that will enable the development of sustainable plastic packaging materials and designs for the plastic bottle industry, an industry that has a global worth of £129billion.  The main challenge for manufacturers is to produce containers with as little material as possible but still meet in-service performance requirements such as top load.

The aim of this project is to develop an inline measurement instrument for the bottle blowing process using a technique known as Raman Spectroscopy.  This instrument has the potential to enable bottle manufacturers to obtain real time feedback on the quality of the containers produced by probing the microstructure of the material in the formed bottle.  This is a timely requirement given the need to process more and more recycled materials where the variation in properties and hence final bottle properties can be extensive.

The project will be interdisciplinary through the combination of expertise from the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering of the bottle manufacturing process (Dr G Menary) with expertise from Chemistry and Chemical Engineering of the Raman Spectroscopy measurement technique (Dr Steven Bell).   This interdisciplinary project will take advantage of over 2 decades of research on each topic by bringing together this expertise for the first time.

The project will be sponsored and co-supervised by a QUB spinout company Blow Moulding Technologies (BMT) who will facilitate cash funding, in kind support through access to equipment and staff time/expertise and placement of the student.  This will enable the student to be internationally networked with major packaging companies in the world who are clients of BMT.  The funding from BMT will enable the student to attend international conferences to present the work as well as attend exhibition fairs where early prototypes of the technology developed in the PhD can be presented.


Key words/descriptors

Raman Spectroscopy, Stretch Blow Moulding, Process Monitoring.

Fit to CITI-GENS theme(s)

  • Advanced Manufacturing

Supervisor Information



First Supervisor: Dr  Gary Menary                                                                       School: Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Second Supervisor:  Prof S Bell                                                                            School: Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Third Supervisor:  Dr Yannis Salomeia                                                               Company: Blow Moulding Technologies

Name of non-HEI partner(s)

Blow Moulding Technologies

Contribution of non-HEI partner(s) to the project:



Additional funding of £10,000 will be provided by Blow Moulding Technologies as well as inkind support through access to equipment and staff expertise.


 Profile of the non-HEI partner and the nature of the relationship.    


Blow Moulding Technologies (BMT) will be the company that hosts the graduate.  The company is based in Belfast and supplies software, services and hardware globally across the packaging sector. It has been trading since 2012 and currently employs seven people all educated at PhD level.  BMT has enabled the development of new technologies for efficient material and energy usage, the implementation of new bio-based materials into bottle packaging and the development of innovative lightweight plastic bottles for major organisations such as PepsiCo, Nestle and P&G.